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The Little Glass Slipper

By Charles Perrault, 1729
Modified by Judith Bronte

There was once upon a time, a gentleman who married for his second wife the proudest and most haughty woman that ever was known. She had been a widow, and had by her former husband two daughters of her own humour, who were exactly like her in all things. He had also by a former wife a young daughter, but of an unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper, which she took from her mother, who was the best creature in the world.

No sooner were the ceremonies of the wedding over, but the mother-in-law began to display her ill humour; she could not bear the good qualities of this pretty girl; and the less, because they made her own daughters so much the more hated and despised. She employed her in the meanest work of the house, she cleaned the dishes and stands, and rubbed Madam's chamber, and those of the young Madams her daughters: she lay on the top of the house in a garret, upon a wretched straw bed, while her sisters lay in fine rooms, with floors all inlaid, upon beds of the newest fashion, and where they had looking-glasses so large, that they might see themselves at their full length, from head to foot. The poor girl bore all patiently, and dared not tell her father, who would have rattled her off; for his wife governed him entirely. When she had done her work, she used to go into the chimney corner, and sit down upon the cinders, which made her commonly be called in the house Cinderbreech: but the youngest, who was not so rude and uncivil as the eldest, called her Cinderilla. However, Cinderilla, not withstanding her poor clothes, was a hundred times handsomer than her sisters, though they wore the most magnificent apparel.

Now, it happened that the King's son gave a ball, and invited all persons of quality to it: our young ladies were also invited; for they made a very great figure. They were very well pleased thereat, and were very busy in choosing out such gowns, petticoats, and head-clothes as might become them best. This was a new trouble to Cinderilla; for it was she that ironed her sisters linen, and plaited their ruffles; they talked all day long of nothing but how they should be dressed.

"For my part," said the eldest, "I'll wear my red velvet suit, with French trimming."

"And I," said the youngest, "will have my common petticoat; but then, to make amends for that, I'll put on my gold flowered manteau, and my diamond stomacher, which is not the most indifferent in the world." They sent for the best tirewoman they could get, to dress their heads, and adjust their double pinners, and they had their red brushes and patches from Mrs. De la poche.

Cinderilla advised them the best in the world, and offered herself to dress their heads; which they were very willing she should do. As she was doing this, they said to her,

"Cinderilla, would you not be glad to go to the ball?"

"Ah!" said she, "you only banter me; it is not for such as I am to go thither."

"You are in the right of it," said they, "it would make the people laugh to see a Cinderbreech at a ball." Any one but Cinderilla would have dressed their heads awry; but she was very good, and dressed them perfectly well. They were almost two days without eating, so much were they transported with joy: they broke above a dozen of laces in trying to be laced up close, that they might have a fine slender shape, and they were continually at their looking-glass. At last the happy day came; they went to court, and Cinderilla followed them with her eyes as long as she could, and when she had lost sight of them, she fell a crying.

Her godmother, who saw her all in tears, asked her what was the matter?

"I wish I could -, I wish I could -," she could not speak the rest, her tears interrupting her. Her godmother, who was a [Angel], said to her,

"Thou wishest thou could'st go to the ball, is it not so?"

"Y -es," said Cinderilla, with a great Sob.

"Well," said her godmother, "be but a good girl, and I'll contrive thou shalt go." Then she took her into her chamber, and said to her, "go into the garden, and bring me a pompion." Cinderilla went immediately to gather the finest she could get, and brought it to her Godmother, not being able to imagine how this pompion could make her go to the ball: her godmother scooped out all the inside of it, having left nothing but the rind; she struck it with her wand, and the pompion immediately was turned into a fine coach, gilt all over with gold. After that, she went to look into her mouse-trap, where she found six mice all alive; she ordered Cinderilla to lift up a little the trap door, and she gave every mouse that went out a stroke with her wand, and the mouse was that moment turned into a fine horse, which all together made a very fine set of six horses, of a beautiful mouse-coloured dapple grey.

"I'll go and see," says Cinderilla, "if there be never a rat in the rat-trap, we'll make a coach-man of him."

"You are in the right," said her godmother, "go and see." Cinderilla brought the trap to her, and in it there were three huge rats: the [Angel] made choice of one of the three, which had the largest beard, and having touched him with her wand, he was turned into a fat jolly coach-man, that had the finest whiskers as ever were seen.

After that, she said to her,

"Go into the garden, and you will find six Lizards behind the watering-pot, bring them to me." She had no sooner done so, but her godmother turned them into six footmen, who skipped up immediately behind the coach, with their liveries all bedaubed with gold and silver, and clung so close behind one another, as they had done nothing else all their lives. The [Angel] then said to Cinderilla, "Well, you see here an equipage fit to go to the Ball with; are you not pleased with it?"

"O yes," said she, "but must I go thither as I am, with these ugly nasty clothes?" Her godmother only just touched her with her wand, and at the same instant her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and silver, all beset with jewels: after this, she gave her a pair of Glass Slippers, the finest in the world. Being thus dressed out she got into her coach; but her godmother, above all things, commanded her not to stay beyond twelve a clock at night; telling her at the same time, that if she stayed at the ball one moment longer, her coach would be a pompion again, her horses mice, her footmen lizards, and her clothes resume their old form.

She promised her godmother she would not fail of leaving the ball before midnight, and then departed not a little joyful at her good fortune.

The King's son, who was informed that a great Princess, whom they did not know, was come, ran out to receive her; he gave her his hand as she alighted out of the coach, and led her into the hall where the company was: there was a great silence; they left off dancing, and the violins ceased to play, so attentive was every body to contemplate the extraordinary beauties of this unknown person: there was heard nothing but a confused noise of

"Ha! how handsome she is, Ha! how handsome she is." The King himself, as old as he was, could not help looking at her, and telling the Queen in a low voice, that it was a long time since that he had seen so beautiful and lovely a creature. All the ladies were busied in considering her clothes and head-dress, that they might have some made the next day after the same pattern, supposing they might get such fine materials, and as able hands to make them.

The King's son shewed her to the most honorable place, and afterwards took her out to dance with him: she danced with so much gracefulness, that they more and more admired her. A fine collation was served up, of which the young Prince ate nothing, so much was he taken up in looking upon her. She went and set herself down by her sisters, and shewed them a thousand civilities: she gave them some of the oranges and lemons that the Prince had presented her with; which very much surprised them; for they did not know her. While the company was thus employed, Cinderilla heard the clock go eleven and three quarters; upon which she immediately made a courtesy to the company, and went away as fast as she could.

As soon as she came home, she went to find out her godmother, and after having thanked her, she told her, she could not but heartily wish to go the next day to the ball, because the King's son had desired her. As she was busied in telling her godmother every thing that had passed at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door, Cinderilla went and opened it.

"You have stayed a long while," said she.

"If thou hadst been at the ball," said one of her sisters, "thou would'st not have been tired with it: there came thither the most beautiful Princess, the most beautiful that ever was seen; she shewed us a thousand civilities, and gave us oranges and lemons." Cinderilla seemed indifferent; she asked them the name of that Princess; but they told her they did not know it, and that the King's son was very uneasy on her account, and would give all the world to know where she was. At this Cinderilla smiled, and said,

"She must then be very handsome indeed; How happy have you been! Could not I see her? Ah! good Madam Charlotte, lend me your yellow suit of clothes that you wear every day."

"Undoubtedly," said Madam Charlotte, "lend my clothes to such a Cinderbreech as you are, who is fool then?" Cinderilla was very glad of the refusal, for she would have been sadly put to it, if her sister had lent her her clothes.

The next day the two sisters were at the ball, and so was Cinderilla, but dressed more richly than she was at first. The King's son was always by her, and saying abundance of tender things to her; the young lady was no ways tired, and forgot what her godmother had recommended to her, so that she heard the clock begin to strike twelve, when she thought it was only eleven, she then rose up and fled as nimble as a deer: the Prince followed her, but could not catch hold of her; she dropped one of her Glass Slippers, which the Prince took up very carefully; Cinderilla came home quite out of breath, without coach or footmen, and in her old ugly clothes; she had nothing left her of all her finery, but one of the little Slippers, fellow to that she dropped. The guards at the palace- gate were asked if they had not seen a Princess go out, who said, they had seen no body go out, but a young woman very badly dressed, and who had more the air of a poor country wench than a lady.

When the two sisters returned from the ball, Cinderilla asked them, if they had been well diverted, and if the fine lady had been there; they told her, Yes, but that she flew away as soon as it had struck twelve a clock, and with so much haste, that she dropped one of her little Glass Slippers, the prettiest in the world, and which the King's son had taken up, that he did nothing but look at her all the time of the ball, and that certainly he was very much in love with the beautiful person who owned the little Slipper. What they said was very true; for a few days after, the King's son caused it to be proclaimed by sound of trumpet, that he would marry her whose foot this Slipper would just fit. They began to try it on upon the princesses, then the dutchesses, and all the court, but in vain; it was brought to the two sisters, who did all they possibly could to thrust their foot into the Slipper, but they could not effect it. Cinderilla, who saw all this, and knew the Slipper, said to them laughing,

"Let me see if it will not fit me." Her sisters burst out a laughing, and began to banter her. The gentleman who was sent to try the Slipper, looked earnestly at Cinderilla, and finding her very handsome, said, it was but just that she should try, and that he had orders to let every body do so. He made Cinderilla sit down, and putting the Slipper to her foot, he found it went in very easily, and fitted her, and if it had been made of wax. The astonishment her two sisters were in, were very great; but much greater, when Cinderilla pulled out of her pocket the other Slipper, and put it upon her foot. Upon this her godmother came in, who having touched with her wand Cinderilla's clothes, made them more rich and magnificent than ever they were before.

And now, her two sisters found her to be that fine beautiful lady that they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet, to beg pardon for all the ill treatment they had made her undergo. Cinderilla took them up, and told them, as she embraced them, that she forgave them with all her heart, and desired them always to love her.

"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
~ Romans 12:18-21 ~

She was conducted to the young Prince dressed as she was: he thought her more beautiful than ever, and a few days after married her. Cinderilla, who was as good as handsome, gave her two sisters lodgings in the palace, and married them the same day to two great lords of the court.


Beauty's to the sex a treasure,
We still admire it without measure,

And never yet was any known
By still admiring weary grown.

But that thing, which we call good grace,
Exceeds by far a handsome face;

Its charms by far surpass the other,
And this was what her good godmother

Bestowed on CINDERILLA fair,
Whom she instructed with such care,

And gave her such a graceful mien,
That she became thereby a Queen.

For thus (may ever truth prevail)
We draw our moral from this Tale.

This quality, fair ladies, know
Prevails much more, you'll find it so,

To engage and captivate a heart,
Than a fine head dressed up with art;

'Tis the true gift of heaven and fate,
Without it none in any state

Effectual any thing can do;
But with it all things well and true.


A Great advantage 'tis, no doubt, to man,
To have wit, courage, birth, good sense and brain,

And other such like Qualities, which we
Received from heaven's kind hand and destiny.

But none of these rich graces from above,
In your advancement in the world will prove

Of any use, if God desires to make delay,
Or Godmothers your merit to display.

"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth
the LORD, she shall be praised."
~ Proverbs 31:30 ~

Text courtesy of "The Cinderella Project"
Editor, Michael N. Salda
Resource from the de Grummond Children's Literature Research Collection,
University of Southern Mississippi